Tip of the Week: Mental Health Tips for Office Workers
Working in an office can be a grind. Millions of people each day go to their desks and complete eight (or more) hours of sedentary, and often stressful work. This can lead to a slew of health problems and other issues that find people depressed, unfulfilled, and dangerously unhappy. Today, we will take a give out a few pointers to help people improve their health while working static jobs.
Stand Up More
The average office worker spends around 2,000 hours a year at their desks. If you are sitting for a lion’s share of the time that’s around a quarter of the year you are sitting at your job. With around 85 percent of American workers working jobs requiring them to be in front of some type of screen, this can wreck a person’s body. Sitting too much puts you at a much higher risk of muscular-skeletal disorders, diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease...you know, all the good ones. This is even true if you work out regularly, something that most office workers don’t do. By changing positions every few minutes, whether that be standing up at your desk, or simply just walking down the hall, you could add years to your life.
If you absolutely have to sit all day at your job, you should make an effort to ensure that you prioritize good posture while you are at your desk. Most people that are slouched over their computer each day run the risk of debilitating ailments such as arthritis and bursitis.
Eat the Right Things
If you are going to be sedentary a lot of the time, it is important to fuel yourself accordingly. Eating fast food and food high in carbohydrates and fat open you up to obesity, and significantly increases your chances of acquiring heart disease. Foods like nuts, fish, and avocados that are high in omega-3s and monounsaturated fats help lower cholesterol levels.
If you find yourself slipping up and eating that extra slice of pizza too often, especially over the holidays, you may find that you’ve put on a few pounds. Don’t fret, the best way to avoid stacking on weight is to be diligent about what you eat.
Firstly, you will want to start the day with a smart breakfast. If you are going to try to optimize your metabolism, start the day with yogurt, fruit, or oats. Snacks of nuts, wholegrain crackers, and fruit will get you through until lunch. Lunch is typically the place most people cheat on their workplace diets, but sticking to foods that are high in protein and low in carbs can help you regain your edge into the afternoon. Having another low-carb snack will get you through the workday. You’ll want to eat dinner as early as you can, as eating dinner late in the day is just going to pack on the pounds.
Protect Your Mental Health
For all the talk about physical health, a person’s mental health is as or more important, and is routinely put to the test by the modern office job. A person’s job is a big part of their life, and it is important that, in order to be the most effective worker that someone can be, that they feel some type of fulfillment from their job. Some people spend more time working than they do sleeping, and to ensure that their emotional health isn’t irreparably damaged by that, they need to do a few things to help them disconnect from their workplace.
One thing a person can do beyond eating the right things and getting enough exercise is to get enough sleep. According to the Center for Disease Control, one-in-three people don’t get enough sleep. For the average adult, seven hours of sleep is enough to promote optimal health and well-being. For the worker that does get enough sleep, eats right, and gets enough exercise, but still doesn’t feel right about his/her job, there is a good chance that he/she is dealing with a lot of stress.
Stress, known as the silent killer, can be manifested in many ways. It can be self-imposed, it can come from superficial demands from clients, or it can come from factors outside of the workplace. Workers are people, and because of that, they don’t offer the same infallible productivity as machines. When people are managed in a way that makes them feel unappreciated (e.g. like a machine), they typically don’t function optimally.
In fact, it’s a major problem for employers of all types. A study conducted by Harvard and Stanford in 2016 found that almost two-of-three workers said that they “always, often, or sometimes” took part in unhealthy behaviors like drinking or crying as a result of the stress they are under from their job. This overwhelming stress people feel is real, evidenced by the approximately 120,000 workplace deaths that are linked to workplace stress.
Another study from Mental Health America found that major stressors include money troubles, a companywide lack of recognition, and an overwhelming lack of satisfaction working their jobs. This results in a workforce that is seemingly always shifting. 71 percent of respondents to the MHA survey said they are actively looking for new job opportunities. Unfortunately, there is no change that will eliminate some of a workplace’s stress, but making sure you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and taking advantage of the resources your organization provides are ways to reduce your stress level.
If you are like most people, you have to work. If this properly describes you, then looking for ways to reduce your stress levels and promote your own physical and mental health is important. For more great tips, tricks, and suggestions visit our blog regularly.